Former NOLA police chief to speak at UIC

Ronal Serpas

Ronal Serpas, former police superintendent of New Orleans.

Ronal Serpas, professor of practice, criminology and justice at Loyola University New Orleans and former police superintendent of New Orleans, is the speaker for the Third Annual Leeuwenhoek Lecture, hosted by Cure Violence.

Serpas will speak on the need for new approaches to address violence in America, such as the public health approach to violence developed by Cure Violence, and by training police officers to recognize the differences in human development and response that follow exposure to violence to encourage a ‘guardian’ response by officers.

The event takes place from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 20 in the UIC College of Nursing.

Serpas retired in 2014 after a 34-year career in law enforcement. He served as the police superintendent in New Orleans, police chief in Nashville, and chief of the Washington State Patrol.

While superintendent of police in New Orleans, Serpas worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice civil rights team, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI to investigate several federal criminal civil rights cases and other criminal and administrative violations by police officers before and after Hurricane Katrina. This work also included the negotiation of the NOPD-Consent Decree and early implementation of its requirements.

Serpas is an expert at managing the police response to major events, including the 2012 BCS National Championship Football Game, the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, NFL Super Bowls XXXI and XLVII, the 2013 NCAA Women’s Final Four and the 2014 NBA All Star Game. He is a past 2nd vice president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, chair of the IACP Community Policing Committee and founding co-chair of the IACP Research Advisory Committee. He is the chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, and is an executive fellow to the Police Foundation. He is a national advisory board member of Cure Violence and the National Police Research Platform. He has written numerous news articles on gun violence, police disciplinary systems and crime following natural disasters.

Cure Violence, named one of the top 20 NGOs in the world by Global Journal, was founded in 1995 by Dr. Gary Slutkin, professor of epidemiology in the UIC School of Public Health, formerly of the World Health Organization, and current CEO of Cure Violence. Cure Violence works to lessen gang and youth violence, as well as cartel, tribal, election and prison violence and is increasingly being used to combat violent extremism. The organization has partners on four continents, and its principles are implemented in more than 50 communities in 31 cities.

Cure Violence has demonstrated effectiveness in stopping lethal violence, particularly shootings. Several external evaluations have shown its approach reduces acts of violence by 40 percent to 50 percent in the first year, and up to 70 percent over a two- to three-year period. Reductions in violence begin almost immediately when implemented in a community.

The Leeuwenhoek Lecture is named after Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the 17th-century Dutch scientist who first observed invisible microorganisms. This led to a scientific understanding of disease contagion and treatment of previously incurable diseases.

For information, contact Cam Johnson at, 312-413-2476.

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